25

March

John Kuhn’s time is up in Green Bay

John Kuhn has been a Packers fan favorite for years. But now, it's time for the team to move on.

John Kuhn has been a Packers fan favorite for years. But now, it’s time for the team to move on.

He’s got his own cheer and he’s been one of the Packers’ favorites for years.

But why in the world are the Packers tinkering with bringing back the eight-year fullback John Kuhn.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a performance or chemistry issue. Kuhn has done everything that’s been asked of him since he came to Green Bay in 2007.

However, his role has shrunk significantly since 2010 to the point that last year it was razor thin with just 10 carries. And even when he’s not getting the ball, he isn’t on the field nearly as much as he used to be.

The reason isn’t because fans are tired of belting out “Kuuuuuuhn” every time he gets the rock. But because the Packers have a guy named Eddie Lacy that runs people over by himself — rendering the fullback position useless.

Kuhn has been an outstanding teammate. You’ve never heard that the Shippensburg product was a locker room problem. And the reason the undrafted free agent is so adored by the Packers fans is because he exemplifies everything they all strive to achieve. Things like beating the odds, never giving up, living out your passion and always outworking the other guy.

Kuhn earned himself a Pro Bowl trip and more importantly helped the Packers win a Super Bowl.

Obviously, it’s never easy saying goodbye to someone that not just fellow teammates look up to but fans from around the league look up to as well.

But it’s time for the Packers to move on.

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Cory Jennerjohn is from Wisconsin and has been in sports media for over 10 years. To contact Cory e-mail him at jeobs -at- yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter: Cory Jennerjohn

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43 Responses to “John Kuhn’s time is up in Green Bay”

  1. Horse says:

    Kuhn is the RB guru. This isn’t something you can tinker with in Madden and it doesn’t show up in stats. He’s a master of picking up schemes, how to block, who to block, and subtleties of how to play the RB position. You can’t draft one of those, ever.

    PS: No Kuhn, no NFC North championship last season. He chipped Peppers after he saw an assignment being blown and guessed where JP would be going. I’m glad you aren’t a coach or the GM.

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    • Bedrock says:

      Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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    • packfan says:

      not sure what games you were watching but Kuhn has never been a consistent running back, falls down on 1st contact. he had one halfway decent block in the Bears games but otherwise is not a good blocker. I just re-watch the SB and he even missed a number of blocks in that game. And how times does he fail to make 3rd and one or two? The Packers made a big mistake when they let Leach go and kept Kuhn. Now is the time to make it right by getting rid of Kuhn. And do I also have to mentioned his mistake in the Pitt game when he tried to pick up the blocked punt. If the Packers still want a FB, let them go out and get someone who can actualy block.

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      • Shavager says:

        Oh, puhleeease! IF you know which player’s gonna get the ball, know which direction he’s coming, any defense should be able to stop that RB IF it’s the Packers O-line blocking for him. C’MON MAN, it’s more a detriment for Kuhn to run behind the Pack O-line than it is for Kuhn to be the RB with the ball. Packers O-line blocked better on leftside of line all season behind Bakhtiari and Sitton but it’s still not an elite O-line we’re talking about here. Kuhn is the BEST blocking RB Packers have, his play is better than any TE that has blocked out of backfield too. I think Thompson will resign him before camp, after the draft.

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    • packfan says:

      not sure what games you were watching but Kuhn has never been a consistent running back, falls down on 1st contact. he had one halfway decent block in the Bears games but otherwise is not a good blocker. I just re-watch the SB and he even missed a number of blocks in that game. And how times does he fail to make 3rd and one or two? The Packers made a big mistake when they let Leach go and kept Kuhn. Now is the time to make it right by getting rid of Kuhn. And do I also have to mentioned his mistake in the Pitt game when he tried to pick up the blocked punt. If the Packers still want a FB, let them go out and get someone who can actualy block.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  2. Hank Scorpio says:

    Kuhn’s role with the Packers is NOT defined by the number of times he touches the football. The entire point is completely off base.

    His role is as Rodgers’ personal protector in the backfield and he does that better than anyone currently on the roster. I could have sworn I saw Kuhn play a key role in winning the division fulfilling that duty. Maybe I was dreaming.

    I continue to be baffled by Packer fans that underestimate the importance of keeping Rodgers upright. There is no more important task on the team. To advocate kicking a primary means of protecting Rodgers to the curb because he isn’t carrying the football strikes me as foolish.

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    • marpag says:

      You beat me to it, but you are completely right. To judge a fullback by the number of his carries is pretty much the same thing as not understanding what a fullback is.

      How many carries did Josh Sitton have last year? How many tackles did Jordy Nelson make? Should we cut them?

      IMO, the Packers need *someone* who can fill the fullback role. I can’t see them building a roster without one. Whether or not that fullback is Kuhn probably depends on how much money Kuhn is willing to play for. I don’t think there are very many other teams who will be lining up to sign him.

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      • Hank Scorpio says:

        I would love to see Kuhn back for one year at the vet minimum. Along with a William Henderson type of back to blow up LBs in the hole for Lacy.

        The new FB and Lacy would both be able to learn from the master when it comes to blitz pickup in the backfield. If both learn the skill, the Packers can move on from Kuhn in 2015, comfortable in the knowledge there are still 2 guys that can protect Rodgers in the backfield.

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        • BubbaOne says:

          Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  3. JimR_in_DC says:

    Hank Scorpio says: “Kuhn’s role with the Packers is NOT defined by the number of times he touches the football. The entire point is completely off base.”

    Yep!

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 8

  4. ChrisV says:

    Watch the Bengals game last year. Note how different the offense looks when Kuhn isn’t in the game. THAT is Kuhn’s value to the offense.

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  5. Cory Jennerjohn Cory Jennerjohn says:

    I’ve said numerous times that the most important priority is to keep Aaron Rodgers upright and healthy.

    However, plugging John Kuhn into a leaky dam doesn’t seem worth it to me. I realize he kept the play alive to win the NFC North title last year, but I would rather see that roster spot go to someone that sees the field more.

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    • Ed Schoenfeld says:

      The problem with that approach is that when Kuhn ‘sees the field’ the Packers really need *Kuhn* an no one else to be on the field.

      I haven’t noticed him slowing down on special teams either. I’d rather see them sign Kuhn and have a realistic chance to cut Jarret Bush, than not sign Kuhn and be forced to keep Bush because of ST.

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      • Nopainnogain says:

        do they even do the same thing on special teams?

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

        • Stroh says:

          Exactly the same… no. But both are on nearly EVERY ST play the Packers run, so its hard to argue that their jobs are that different.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

    • JimR_in_DC says:

      If other players (RBs, TEs) on the roster could make Kuhn’s position on the team unnecessary, I would have no problem letting him go. But, I’m not sure we’ve seen that yet.

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    • Stroh says:

      The secondary role of FB is to be a core ST player. Kuhn is on the field for all the ST plays along w/ about 25% of offensive plays. Does a player that is on the field for approx. 50% of the total plays in a game deserve a roster spot?

      None of the other RB’s do a thing on ST. Maybe we’ll see Harris doing KR but that’s a guess too. Yet you want to keep 3 other RB’s who rarely see the field. BTW don’t count Kuhn as a RB, FB is a different position w/ different responsibilities. I would think the author of the article know enough football to at least understand that much.

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      • BubbaOne says:

        Whether I agree w/ you or not I respect your opinion.

        The problem I’m having is the Kuhn is a RB guru, we can’t win w/o his blocking, no one else knows the “O” like him, AR wants him back (he also wanted EDS back), rather have him than Bush, line of thinking. Last time I looked it was Jesus who walked on water.

        Everyone is replaceable. I have no problemo if TT brings him in w/o a guarantee and let’s him compete. My concern is at 31 his skills will continue to diminish and fans want him back for what he’s done not what he will do. Who says Liaina, one of the TE’s/LB’s on the roster or a player brought in (draft/UDFA) couldn’t do as good a job on ST? Besides, we need more speed in all phases and replacing a 31yr old FB/STer would be a good place to start.

        Look I do want to see more vets on the roster: When EDS went down our interior backup (Lane Taylor) provided nothing and MM did what he said he didn’t to want to have happen anymore…play musical chairs at 3 OL positions. Near the end of the season when we were desperate for OLB play, Nate Palmer didn’t provide much. Late in the year when we were thin at TE, Stoneburner couldn’t get on the field. So yes, I’d like to see more inexpensive plug and play backup vets but I think Kuhn’s contributions can be handled by younger vets.

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        • Stroh says:

          I don’t think he’s a guru or he’s a player we can’t win w/o. I just think he’s the best blocking RB or ST player. But he performs his responsibilities better than anyone else. And for a minimal contract he’s worth bringing back.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  6. Archie says:

    This one is a tough call. I agree with every word in the column except possibly the conclusion. Pack has nobody else to play this key role. He knows the blocking assignments forwards and backwards. He is an excellent blocker. Carries, like so many have stated, has nothing to do with this decision. I assume TT will bring him back but on his terms.

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  7. Big T says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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    • JimR_in_DC says:

      Doesn’t that mean we’d have to chip in a 3rd rounder, too?

      Just kidding!

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      • BubbaOne says:

        A 3rd rounder would be worth it as long as they also take Archie and Big T regardless if they pass their physical.

        Not kidding!

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    • Morgan Mundane says:

      I’m going to miss Newhouse. Gee I wish I wish I could have another root canal this week as well and pay a lot more in taxes too.

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  8. Morgan Mundane says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  9. Tarynfor12 Tarynfor12 says:

    The responses to this article wreak of “Donald Driver Syndrome’.

    We can’t get rid of that ‘smile’ and now we can’t get rid of ‘Kuuuuuuhhhnnnn’

    Some wise man said..”There is a time for everything”…
    Another man said…”It is time!”

    Kuhns’ time has come and is now gone…will miss ya.

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    • Ed Schoenfeld says:

      If Kuhn’s time has indeed gone, we will see that in Traning camp even if the Packers sign him.

      I am astounded that the same fan base of commenters seriously propose getting Chris Clemons for miltiple millions as ‘insurance’ at safety when you have Hyde and at least one draft pick potentially being good young players there but can’t see the value of a slightly more than vet min contract for Kuhn as the obvious passing down protector of the movt valuable player on the team. You do know that Liana (however good he might be) has never even *practiced* with the Packers?

      And no, wanting to keep Kuhn who has no one on the roster with experience at his job to replace him is *nothing* like advocating to keep Donald Driver wheh the team had *five* players who were better at his job than he was.

      (Note, I am not saying that its the same people advocating that we dump kuhn but get Clemons, just that both points seem to have strong support within the group. A positive, I suppose, if you want to ascribe the phenomenon to ‘diversity.’)

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  10. Alex says:

    “I would rather see that roster spot go to someone who sees the field more” … John Kuhn played a total of 537 snaps last year between offense (320) and special teams (217) … Which puts him 24th most on the team. More or less, he played more than any non starter. Who are we going to sign for that amount of money that will play more? The type of value he brings to the team for the amount he is paid is crazy, probably more so this year as he will have to take a pay cut to stay. Superstars get the credit for winning championships… But you can’t win without guys like Kuhn, who do the dirty work for little pay. I’m not saying he is coming back for certain, but his value to the team goes so far beyond whether or not he touches the ball. Ask Aaron Rodgers if John Kuhn needs to be brought back.

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  11. Since '61 says:

    Just because the Packers have not yet re-signed Kuhn doesn’t necessarily mean that he won’t be back. He may yet sign even at a minimum amount. However, if he does not return the Packers will move on. I would hope that both MM and Rodgers are asked to weigh in on this decision. If they need Kuhn for the offense he should be kept. If not, the money previously spent for Kuhn can be applied to another player who is on the field more and who is more versatile than Kuhn. The basic fullback role is gone from the NFL and in today’s game I am not sure that it is relevant any longer. The fullback has gone from being the workhorse back, like Jim Taylor or Jimmy Brown to primarily a blocking/short yardage player like Kuhn to gone completly. Has Kuhn been excellent at protecting Rodgers? Absolutely!!! But can someone else who can also carry the ball more and catch more passes be just as effective? Also, absolutely. With a more effective running game the Packers should move the ball with less passing. This alone means less exposure to hits for Rodgers. I believe that if Cobb were healthy in 2013 we would have seen even less of Kuhn than we did. It will be difficult to lose him but change is inevitable and at some point everyone becomes expendable. Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since ’61

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    • Stroh says:

      It’ll definitely be a decision that McCarthy and Thompson make together. Thompson has to consider how much of a role McCarthy expects him to have. I would guess its 45% each decision w/ the remain 10% going to Rodgers if he is allowed any input.

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      • BubbaOne says:

        I hope to God TT/MM doesn’t let AR have input w/ personnel decisions.

        I remember the great Michael Jordan offering Jerry Krause advice on player moves…BRUTAL.

        …and I hope the decision making is more like TT 65% and MM 35%. The GM is looking at the long view to keep the franchise viable for years. The coach looks more short term.

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        • Stroh says:

          I just think they might listen to his thoughts. Probably wouldn’t matter in the end what Rodgers wants. I don’t consider that input that matters. Just getting his thoughts.

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  12. Wade Wilson says:

    Kuhn knows the offense better than anyone, maybe even Aaron. He is a valuable asset, and his contributions go way beyond his carries.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  13. GBPDAN says:

    I think Rodgers vote would be to keep Kuhn. He likes the peace of mind that Kuhns solid protection provides. I remember the interview on the field right after the last Bears game to win the division. The reporter asked Aaron about the big game winning play to Cobb, Aaron immediately brought Kuhns block into his response.

    MM will be the ultimate decision maker regarding Kuhn. He knows Kuhns value on ST and on Offense. If MM feels it’s time to move on, it will be a hard decision and MM would have to feel he has a replacement. They are probably waiting until after the draft to make a decision. I hope Kuhn signs for one more year at the veteran min.

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  14. Dan "FireMMNow" Blakley FireMMNow says:

    I love Kuhn, but his time with this team is over. Everyone has worked at a place where there was an old timer that was really good at what he did, and everyone thought the place would fall apart when he retired. Well, in most cases some young guy starts in that position and does just fine. And that young guy would have been doing the job earlier and cheaper if everyone was not scared the place would fall apart.

    The packers should have the people to take over the third down back role in this offense. Starks, DuJuan Harris, Lacey and Franklin. One of those guys will learn blitz pick up. They will be fine.

    Thanks for some great years John, but your time has come. I am sure there are other teams that would love to have him, but the packers just do not need him.

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    • Stroh says:

      I think they should have to prove their ability in blitz pick up to get the job before Kuhn. And that’s not even accounting for his ST prowess.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  15. Bob Dylan says:

    Kuhn Schmuhn…..as long as chubby thinks this team is “better on paper” than last year with no center, a novice safety and one less receiver and “I’m very comfortable with Morgan Burnett back there” what difference does it make?

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 3 Thumb down 5

  16. Nopainnogain says:

    I don’t mind if Kuhn isn’t brought back. He’s a good FB and I appreciate his contributions to the team, but he is by no means irreplaceable.

    I don’t classify him as a special teams superstar either. First of all, he played on a special teams unit that PFF graded as the 3rd-worst in the league last year (and 10th-worst the year before), so how good could he really be? Second, in his last 4 seasons, in which he played 69 games, he has a grand total of 10 tackles, 3 assists, 3 missed tackles, and 3 penalties.

    The guy is turning 32 years old and plays a position (FB) that isn’t even on the field for 75% of offensive snaps. 1 timely block on Peppers (that would’ve been forgotten if not for busted coverage) doesn’t change that. I don’t mind if they bring him back either, but he is not a must-sign.

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  17. tim says:

    He threw a great block that was a difference maker its true, and he’s a pretty solid special teams guy. – and I know I’ll go to packer hell for saying this, but is he that important to the team? I hate the “bunch everybody up and give it to Kuhn for one yard” play. Mike, tear that out of the playbook, ok? Isn’t the fullback supposed to be a threat to do something when given the ball? If not, it might have been a good alternative position for Marshall Newhouse. Why do we need a fullback if all he does for the offense is gain one yard? Or, if he breaks into the open field, a mad dash for three yards? I like john Kuhn, he’s a packer kind of guy, but I kind of think we could pretty easily replace him with a much cheaper version without a big drop-off in play. Or maybe use cobb there or an h-back or lacy. I think they could find a Kuhn jr.

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  18. The decision to stay or go has to be made by management. Too much “fan favorite” to be objective. I doubt there’s any rush to decide, no one from the outside has been asking about him. The decision will probably be does he qualify at the 52-53rd roster spot.

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